The modern facial recognition cameras at Karachi’s Jinnah International Airport, intended to identify suspects and wanted individuals, have ceased functioning. Installed a few months ago at the international departure area, these cameras aimed to prevent suspects from leaving the country, but they have become non-operational.
The primary cause of the system’s failure seems to be the lack of interest from the appointed authorities, playing a critical role in its operational challenges. Initially, this advanced system was installed as part of a broader initiative planned to be extended to other international airports in Pakistan.
In March 2023, control of these cameras was transferred to the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), with a control room built at the airport for 24/7 monitoring by FIA immigration officers.
These high-resolution cameras, supported by Japan, were installed not only in Karachi but also in Lahore, Islamabad, and Multan airports. Their capability to make 60 per cent of blurred images recognizable and to quickly flash the image of a suspect in the alarm monitoring room was a significant advancement. However, replacing faulty cameras within three years of activation would incur costs of $3,000. The concerned institution would be held responsible for any faults developed in the system, a measure to ensure accountability and proper maintenance.